NEW YORK — The Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union is trying yet another tack in its dispute with the management of 11 New Jersey dyeing and finishing plants, this time taking its message directly to apparel manufacturers.
The union said it is sending letters this week to about 2,000 apparel manufacturers here, telling them to watch for low-quality goods coming from “textile companies who have used or are using the services of finishing companies engaged in the labor dispute.”
As reported, on Dec. 15, the union voted to accept a contract proposal by State Labor Commissioner Raymond Bramucci, ending a 54-day strike.
CP Associates, which represents 10 of the plants, refused to accept the pact on the grounds that it was conceived without CP’s input. Another plant, Poughkeepsie Dye & Finish, operating independently, also rejected the proposal. Ten plants, represented by Silk and Rayon Associates, agreed to Bramucci’s pact, and put 800 employees back to work.
As of Monday, about 400 workers from the 11 plants are still being locked out, the union said. “We hope to give end users information that will help them in assuring they have quality piece goods from companies with healthy labor relations,” said Kurt Edelman, a union organizer. “Converters are able to get higher margins by selling goods from shops involved in disputes, because of price cutting in an effort to keep work coming in. We suspect that converters are not passing savings on entirely to the end users.”
The letters warns readers to watch for shading, bad selvage, pin holes, faulty printing registration, improper finish (or no finish at all), streaking, color migration, spots and pick counts (particularly low pick counts resulting from stretching on jigs or frames).
Some converters and manufacturers said they are growing tired of the union’s tactics and claims.
“These 1930s union techniques are reprehensible,” said Bud Konheim, president of apparel maker Nicole Miller Ltd. “To all of a sudden say the plants are making shoddy goods is ridiculous. “This is just a technique I feel is going to backfire.” Konheim said he has not been informed of any poor-quality fabrics being shipped to Nicole Miller.
Gerald Greenstein, president of JBJ, a wet and pigment print converter, said he also disagrees with the union’s latest ploy. “JBJ is as competitive as it can be in the higher-priced market,” he said. “There’s not much business around. But there is no way we would ever send our goods to a plant that wouldn’t do high quality work. JBJ sells quality, not just fabric.”